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To just leave the curtains with her...?

(23 Posts)
Rockingaround Wed 18-Jan-17 20:42:33

Evening all, I need some advice, don't want to drip feed; sorry about length.

I have large bay windows, they are 416cm wide. I bought a pair of curtains off eBay for £70 and have had them up for 2 years. They're great quality and most importantly fit the bedroom window.

Around 18 months ago I got a local curtain maker to make me a pelmet for the living room curtains (same width etc) she charged me £210 for a 60cm x 416cm flat pelmet.

I've just decorated the bedroom and asked if she'd give me a price to make a bedroom pelmet (as I had a lot of excess fabric in the length). So she comes round on Sunday to measure up, all is well, it'll be 25cm x 416x, she asks me to drop off the curtains on Monday and that she'll call me with a price. I drop off curtains, her son is there so I call later, she's still not there. I call on Tuesday but goes to answer machine so call again today.

She says she has already cut the curtains and taken them up and has cut the board for the pelmet... I ask the price. She says £380.00 !!!!! I gasp and say I can't afford to pay that. She said she didn't think there'd be a problem with the price as I'd had the living room pelmet done and it's a similar sized job. I just said I'm sorry I just cannot afford to pay £380 for a pelmet out of a pair of curtains I paid £70, at this point I got a bit tearful....

She then said that as she'd already cut the fabric she could just charge me for taking them up and I could have the excess fabric back; if I then wanted the pelmet in the future I could go back to her. I said how much would that cost, she replied £120!!! I just said ok as I couldn't deal with any more negotiation and I felt pressured and cornered and anxious (I'm 33 wks pg with dc3 for context).

I feel so stressed about this. I feel that £120 is too much to take up a hem. I feel £380 for the pelmet is extortionate. I daren't even tell me husband as he'll get stressed about it too and I already feel completely responsible and stupid. The one strong thing I feel is this: if she had told me either of those prices, I'd have said "thank you but no, that's out of our budget, I'll leave it". Now I feel I don't have a choice as she's just went ahead and started it without checking with me first.

My mum said I should just say no thank you, you should have agreed the price, you can keep the curtains.
Would that be unreasonable?

(Mum said I should go and buy two pairs of 220cm ready made curtains in the sale for the same price.)

Many thanks for reading wine

Chloe84 Wed 18-Jan-17 20:49:28

She should have agreed the price with you before starting work.

Don't leave the curtains with her. Get your curtains back and don't pay her a penny.

HecateAntaia Wed 18-Jan-17 20:51:41

She started the work without your authorisation to go ahead.
You were clear you wanted a price.
This is her screw up.

And that's what id be saying.

Give me my curtains.
You were asked to take them and give me a price. I feel that you are trying to force me to agree. You cantdo work i have not agrred to

HecateAntaia Wed 18-Jan-17 20:53:15

Meant to say she should not even get the advantage of keeping the curtains

Peanutandphoenix Wed 18-Jan-17 20:53:30

She should've agreed the price with you first before she did anything to the curtains go and get your curtains back and don't pay her a penny.

BreakfastAtSquiffanys Wed 18-Jan-17 20:56:52

I do curtain alterations and never cut until I have agreed a price.
Assuming that your curtains are a minimum of 6 widths (which would be the minimum to cover a bay that wide, I would charge £15 to £20 per width, so she's at the upper limit of what I would charge

PenguinsandPebbles Wed 18-Jan-17 20:56:53

I'm shock at £120 for a hem takes no time at all!

If she has pre-cut the fabric then it's a bit more work, but I can't get over the price!

I'm disgusted at her behaviour, ask for your curtains back and don't pay her £120.

BreakfastAtSquiffanys Wed 18-Jan-17 21:00:02

She's in the wrong to have started them before agreeing a price, but since you paid £210 for a similar pelmet last year, what were you expecting her quote to be this time?

GloGirl Wed 18-Jan-17 21:00:46

Get your husband to phone, express his disapproval and ask for your curtains back. If she says that she's already done the work hemming them advise her she's free to unpick them buy £120 is much more than you would have agreed to pay for that alone and you're furious at her for adjusting them without your express consent.

The reason why I say get your DH to do it is because you're pregnant, upset and have already told her it was fine. I'd just duck out of it altogether avoid explaining why you said it was fine and then it wasn't etc.

Bringmewineandcake Wed 18-Jan-17 21:01:35

I agree - no contract had been formed between you at the time of her cutting up your curtains. She has no legal right to charge you for work you did not agree to. Get the curtains back, no payment and take someone with you if you're worried.

ghostyslovesheets Wed 18-Jan-17 21:01:41

small claims court - cost less than she's asking for the bits back!

Bringmewineandcake Wed 18-Jan-17 21:05:34

OP she can't hold you to your agreement to the £120 by the way, as it was given after the fact. She does not have the legal upper hand in this situation.

She's totally in the wrong to have pre-cut it without agreeing a price, however...

I'm shock at £120 for a hem takes no time at all!

Assuming they're decent quality lined curtains, double window width then it's certainly not a job that takes no time at all. Curtains that size are big, heavy, hard to work with etc. If they're lined then most curtain makers hem the curtain and the lining separately, so it's basically two lots. It's, as a previous poster says, upper end but it's not outrageous IMO.

DJBaggySmalls Wed 18-Jan-17 21:27:54

I'd contact Trading Standards and I'd want my bloody curtains back.

melj1213 Wed 18-Jan-17 21:31:01

Surely, if you have no contract in writing you can demand your curtains back and there's very little she can do about it?

If she has done work you didn't authorise, she can't charge you for it after the fact, nor can she hold your items hostage until you pay for work you didn't agree to.

I would be back on the phone to her to tell her that as you only left the curtains with her for the purposes of getting the quote, and you did not authorise her to start the work, you will not be giving her any money and she needs to return the curtains/arrange a time for them to be collected, and if she hasn't done so within so many days, you will be taking advice from a solicitor as to whether pursue legal proceedings

Knitella Wed 18-Jan-17 21:32:20

Agree at the advice above re no contract - you should not pay a penny. Get a supportive friend/relative to calmly advise her of this and ask for the curtains and excess fabric back.

I am appalled at £120 for a hem. Unless there is some issue with the fabric or desired pattern position you normally take curtains up by cutting off the excess at the top and then sewing heading tape back on. For standard tapes this is mega easy. What a cheek! You avoid taking up for the bottom as it gives you so much more work. If she takes up from the bottom for no special reason she's a numpty!

confuugled1 Wed 18-Jan-17 21:34:05

You've had good advice here but maybe also talk to Trading Standards and ask their advice - might be part of a pattern that they would talk strongly to her about.

Even if not, being able to say 'TS said that I shouldn't pay <and whatever else they say>' if she says 'you agreed to pay £120' - you can say that you felt under pressure when talking to her and wanted to find out exactly what the situation ought to have been. You could turn it around as you could have said you wanted to keep the curtains long which you wouldn't be able to do if she cut them without your go ahead...

If she has done it deliberately to get money from you without quoting before you agreed to it, knowing that T S are involved might make her think twice about charging you and about doing the same again...

Rockingaround Wed 18-Jan-17 21:41:11

Thank you so much everyone I feel so much better having all of your support. She's literally cut from the top and re-positioned the heading (standard) tape, they have a good quality lining and aren't difficult fabric. I completely agree that she shouldn't have started without an agreement in place re cost. I feel like she's left me with no choices. As ideally I'd have just shopped around and got what I wanted done sow where else at a price I could afford. Mum is calling her tmrw to point out (in a calm way) all of your (beautifully outlined) points with the aim being for her just to give me back the curtains and not to pay her anything. I'll keep you posted. Many many thanks again, I feel so much better as I felt so stupid and was racking my brains to se if there was anything I should've done, I absolutely went to her shop to drop them off and for her to tell me the price there and then .... Anyway thank you again for all of your support. star

Rockingaround Wed 18-Jan-17 21:42:12

Not sow * somewhere

ThroneofJudgypants Wed 18-Jan-17 21:51:59

I charge £40-60 for shortening that amount of width from the top.

I think you should point out you hadn't agreed a price, and come to a compromise.

I don't make pelmets so can't comment but she seems pricy to me. I'm sure you could get that done cheaper.

ThroneofJudgypants Wed 18-Jan-17 21:57:56

I do think that as you left the curtains and the hem has been done you should pay her something but negotiate a lower price.

I would have guessed she worked from the bottom so the fabric was more readily reusable; I wouldn't fancy trying to make a flat pelmet with fabric that's been gathered in header tape for 2+ years! But as OP says she did work from the bottom that's a moot point.

Nonetheless, she was very much in the wrong to cut them then hold your curtains to ransom!

melj1213 Wed 18-Jan-17 23:12:33

You could turn it around as you could have said you wanted to keep the curtains long which you wouldn't be able to do if she cut them without your go ahead...

That's another good point OP, she had measured up and you had dropped the curtains round, but what was to say you weren't calling her later that evening and the next day to try and let her know that you actually only wanted her to remove Xcms from the length because you actually decided you wanted them to be a bit longer ... what would she have done then, since she hadn't actually finalised the specifics before she started cutting?

I don't think I've ever had a tradesperson start a job without a final confirmation once they have recieved the materials and are ready to start - it would be like the builder getting a box of tiles and just tiled your entire bathroom till there were none left in the box, then tried to get you to pay extra to cover the work ... even though you actually only wanted them to tile one wall and you wanted the design to be horizontal, not vertical as they've done it.

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